A Culture of Winning – Why ongoing sales training is imperative
Successful organizations have found that the difference between significant success, minimal success, and no success directly ties to training. The few organizations that invest in training are the ones that have incredible success. The need to train is there to ensure that everyone knows what is expected of them, that they know how to do their job, and that they can operate with peak efficiency and effectiveness. Ongoing sales training is imperative and is needed if you want a culture of winning in your firm.
Sales performance is drastically improved through the benefits of training. It’s crucial to remember that it’s not just about doing a single training session on a specific topic. Performance improvement is really about looking holistically at your sales training and realizing that it needs to be ongoing. Training efforts includes topics like learning the organization, understanding your clients, understanding how to deliver, and how to get the best out of every opportunity.
Trained sales people truly understand how to get in the door with a client. They understand:
- how to get new opportunities,
- what qualifying the opportunity is,
- what follow through is,
- how to translate the info from the client to recruiting and from recruiting back to the client
And ultimately, they know how to get their person on board and how to keep in touch with them throughout the assignment. Without training, every person says they are doing all of that, but in reality, they’re not. Inspect what you expect.
I recently heard a statistic that 10% of staffing firms invest regularly in training for their sales and recruiting. Those same 10% report that they are in the high performing category of staffing. Firms that do ongoing sales training are more predictable in how well they do. They have better communication between their sales and recruiting staff, better outcomes with their clients, and better relationships with both their clients and consultants. Financially speaking, they do significantly better than their peers in the 90% that do very little to no training.
Strategic organizations that have a plan of where they want to go and how to get there have well designed and ongoing sales training programs. Other firms with little or no training tend to have issues around sales and recruiting in-fighting, which is generally caused by poor qualification of reqs, poor understanding of how consultants fit with those reqs, and discovering new opportunities.
Ongoing sales training has many benefits, but it also has its challenges. One of the biggest challenges is time. This includes the time to perform the training, to create a plan, and to get people to take the time to come to the training. Second to the time spent on training is the cost. Once you calculate all that “unproductive time” (which is not actually unproductive) that was used on training and you mentally see the bill from that, it can be discouraging. There are also other expenses that can come from getting a space to perform the training, if you didn’t already have a large enough space for it, sending people to those places, and outside organizations that will charge for the training. Lastly, getting the expertise to do the training can become a challenge. The only thing people should think of these challenges is that it’s an imperative. You have to find a way. You will have marginally successful people if you are doing the training.
80% of Your Staff Needs Training Now
TechServe Alliance published a report that includes information on the success of training in staffing firms, and no different than we have all heard, they found that 20% of your sales people make up 80% of your business, and 80% of your sales people only make up 20% of your business. In other words, 80% of your staff needs more training. Organizations that spend their time training don’t report those same margins and work in a culture of winning.
In order to get that culture of winning in your company, these practices for sales training will help:
- Planning – When you go into planning, you need to decide what areas you need to cover and what you need people to know so that you have the best possible outcome.
- Include the team – The 20% of the sales people that make up 80% of your business are pretty good people to ask to be included in the building of the training. If they are doing something right, they can help everyone do something right.
- In-house expertise – Most companies should have the expertise they need, but those people are extra busy with the things that are going on in the day-to-day business. The fact is, convincing your in-house experts to be part of this process is really important.
- Training year round – In your planning, you’ve got to take into account that you might have an initial training week or a couple of days, but then there needs to be supplemental training throughout the year. These trainings can be very focused on particular needs or it can be a lunch and learn. If topics are not being supplemented with ongoing reinforcement, it will disappear.
- Getting feedback – When asked directly, everyone will tell you that the training was great. But you really need to get to the truth of what people thought of the training. Training should be adaptive and getting honest feedback can help improve the process. Make honest feedback a big part of your process.
Good luck out there.